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Cloud, Process Automation, Workflow Basics

The Basics of Cloud-Based Workflow Software

Sean Fiene
December 12, 2017

“There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds.”

Writer G.K. Chesterton sets no limitations for a castle built in the sky. What would buildings look like without the boundaries of land, the physics of gravity or the restrictions of materials? We’ll probably never know, but we are already building businesses in the cloud.

When businesses started using cloud computing, a whole new world of possibilities opened up. With its independent infrastructures, the cloud allows users to store and access their data via the Internet instead of a physical location. Before cloud technology, businesses could only store and operate data on premises – a physical location like a local server or an in-house data center.

A lot of companies are building their businesses on cloud-based platforms, including workflow systems. With cloud technologies, workflow systems can provide tools and support to businesses like never before.

Here are six ways a cloud-based workflow system can help transform the architecture of your business:

Cross-Product Processes

A cloud-based workflow system operates independently without the need of a base platform (dependent or third-party workflow systems usually operate on base platforms like SharePoint, Google Work, Box, etc.). This allows cloud-based systems to connect Software as a Service (SaaS) applications in a workflow. For example, users can create a workflow that starts in Facebook, routes to Salesforce, then goes through DocuSign and ends at Dropbox.

Collaboration between software products is where the magic happens, especially with the rise of SaaS like Salesforce, DocuSign or Dropbox. Cloud-based workflow systems integrate with these platforms seamlessly and effectively, giving users the exact services that they need.

Innovative Engineering

Independence also means innovation. Developers engineer and improve their cloud software continually, so users always have the newest product version in hand. In contrast, software that operates on servers usually only comes out with updates once or twice a year and requires manual installation.

Not only can users keep up with the latest updates, they are also free of some responsibilities. On-premises products are stored and operated on-site, which means users generally have to be involved with the software’s operation, maintenance, hosting or downtime. With a cloud-based system, the system’s developers are the ones who address these issues.

Accessibility and Mobility

Users can get access to the cloud anywhere, anytime. That means a cloud-based workflow system is accessible via any channel you and your business prefer: desktops, phones or tablets. From an organizational level, this accessibility means minimizing the use of resources and time, allowing employees to interact with the work process in the most logical and flexible ways.

From an individual perspective, it is easier and more convenient to get access to workflows wherever you are, whenever you can, and however you want to. With this feature, users can customize how they want to receive notifications, respond to tasks, and communicate information.

Intuitive Designer Tools

In general, workflow systems should provide users with an easy design process. Users with little IT experience can still create workflows through a drag-and-drop builder. While the designing process is easy, it shouldn’t take away options or choices. With a cloud-based system, users are the key decision makers.

An easy-to-use design tool encourages the “citizen developer,” which means everyone would be able to create their own workflow. Businesses don’t have to depend as heavily on their engineers or IT departments, and individuals have more control and ownership over what goes into their workflows.

Extensibility

So, a cloud-based workflow system allows connection between various SaaS products for maximum efficiency and productivity – but what about customized applications that businesses create to solve their unique problems? An independent cloud-based workflow system should be able to expand, interact and integrate with these custom-made business solutions.

In other words, a cloud-based workflow system should be extensible.

Cloud-based workflow systems are able to do this because they are vendor-agnostic, meaning they work with just about any external system. More importantly, the integration process should be made easy for users while being a complete solution for any business processes.

Enterprise Grade

Cloud-based workflow systems’ power can solve enterprise business problems. This means that they are suitable for big organizations with intricate levels of departments and large-scale business processes. Being very extensible and intuitive means that a cloud-based workflow system can provide benefits for each department as well as across the entire enterprise.

Cloud-based workflow systems are truly powerful in the sense that they support both day-to-day tasks and sophisticated business-critical processes. Cloud-based workflow systems promise outstanding performance, and at the same time assure manageability, scalability and security for the business.

Any of the above features can transform a business, which is why cloud-based workflow systems are highly sought after and considered game-changers. The journey to the cloud is practical and necessary in the modern enterprise world. Here’s to your castle in the clouds.

 

See how your office performs with a cloud-based workflow system with a free, 30-day trial of Nintex Workflow Cloud.

 

Nintex Technical Evangelist Sean Fiene is a web developer, Nintex Forms specialist and lover of foods. With over 9 years’ experience in SharePoint and Nintex technologies, he’s passionate about using workflow automation, forms and mobile solutions to drive greater productivity and success across industries and business scenarios.